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hello2k1

Keeping Focused

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Well this is starting to come to my attention.. I''m doing less and less work every day. I have been programming for aprox. 4-5 years, and every so often I start to simply lose interest. There are some days where I can get entire concepts planned out, and half completed, but there are others (more often than the good days) where I do barely anything at all! Lately I have also noticed that many programmers suffer from the same problems. So I have now come to this board to ask a question: Is there anyone out there that has found a way to surpass this problem, and if there is, how did you pull it off?

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I noticed that when I became "bored" or un-excited about programming, it was because I wanted to do something that I really didn''t have a clue how to approach. I think it''s like playing tennis or golf, the game is only fun if your at least at a certain skill level.

So with c++ ( a few years ago) I kept getting bored, i didn''t understand something, and I''d get frustrated and stop. Now, that I can actually figure out how to research correctly (because I know c++ well enough to know what to look for) I become more excited and work harder.

I''m also hitting that wall now with c#. But actually today i figured out how to wrap directx and c# so they can actaully work somewhat.

I say, just keeping learning new stuff and work your way through it.
-Pac

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I call it ''out of zone''... Yeah, I also get these worryingly long coupla days where I don''t do any code. Then, all of a sudden, on a bus or at work (I don''t work with computers) I get this drive to do some coding. But ofcourse that''s gone when I get home. :t

The thing that gets in my way, I think, is init-coding (setting up stuff). I simply can''t stand it, and it makes it tough to get going. Though, once started, it''s easy enough to complete.

Try breaking up tasks into smaller tasks. One step at a time, and try to create immediately visible results. It works. Sometimes.

Visit the 2D game programmers'' hideout!

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Hmm, interesting ideas.

lloyd - I''m already imploying your method, I figured that out about a year ago. Very helpful.

Pactuul - Well I don''t have a wink of problems with c++ (kinda grew out of that after I started to learn asm about a year ago) But I guess your idea could be applied to DirectX. I have been pretty frustrated with my light not working properly, my shadows not appearing, and the sheer confusion of working on a 3 year game. But I also figured this out I guess about 2 years ago, when I was starting to learn MFC (my first API)

I know the concepts, but I was more wondering about how to deal with them. Right now I''m doing 2 things:

1) Breaking my "technologies" down into segments - something that planning has really helped with.

2) Concentrating on several things at once. So that if one stumps me, I would just let it be, and work on something else (and asking my partener, or one of my collegues) But this was seriously impairing my work. The only half-cure I have found to this was plannign it out. Sometimes I am not sure this method helps more than it hurts, but I find myself using it anyways.

Does anyone else have any ideas/comments?

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Hmm I''m not sure. Doesn''t planning everything out in rigid details spoil some of the spontanity (aka fun) of coding ?

For the puzzler, the design was written by someone else. I read it through, created a mental image of it, and started coding. Which was (and still IS) fun. I now use his design doc merely to tweak details and making sure my code follows the rules he has outlined.

I also work on more projects, but I''ve limited the amount, plus they''re vastly different (one puzzle game, one website, and I occasionally fire up Illustrator or Photoshop to do some "design work" for either the site or the game). This might help.



Visit the 2D game programmers'' hideout!

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Your 1) choice is what I do. Try to write some code each day even if you have to force yourself. This will preserve the habbit which doesn''t go out of whack. Work on your code little each day, there is no way I can accomplish big goal in a single day. I found out the hardest thing is to hit that vc++ desktop icon and once I do it, it gets easier from then on Also, try to envision your mini-goals, this tends to motivate me to see the end result. It also helps me to attach emotionally to the code which motivates me to continually work on it(babysit it). Basically, I don''t view it as work rather as a playground in which to try new things without feeling afraid that mocking with the code could screw it more. If you do this you''ll find out that you have the confidence in your coding ability to go in change stuff around make it better and come out ok. If you''re tired then take some time off. You''ll code better when your body is refreshed, you become more enthusiastic but if you''re tired and continue coding you get sick of the work and get demotivated. Don''t vary your sleeping schedule, I go to bed before midnight and wake up early next day. This is the best sleeping schedule for me and I''ve tried all kinds of other ones too. Just some ideas, I''ve too been coding for 4 years and finally I''m getting to the point where I actually have the knowledge or coding skills to do what I want. It''s a long road for some of us but very rewarding in the end. Good luck

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Planning a "puzzle", and planning a mainstream game are 2 different things. If I don't plan, the different sections will take twice as long (or sometimes not even get finished), and will not fit together.

Also, to answer your question, I find that I have become much more productive due to planning. It does not take away the fun at all (even though it shouldn't simply be all fun and games) To tell you the truth, I was a sceptic at first, then my current partener got me to try it, and I have stuck to it ever since. Without plotting out how the technology is going to be structured, I found myself getting lost amidst my 600 line classes, and having to trash the whole lot.

Add on:

JD - LOL, that kind of brings me back. I am not scared of destroying my code, but the whole idea of creating a sleeping schedule sounds interesting. I usually go to sleep at 1:00am+, and wake up about 10 hours later. Considering the fact that I'm coming upon that point in roughly 10 mins, and that it's an exceptionally hot day today, I can't try that today.
Something that I noticed a while ago was that doing a few exercises at mid-day really helped me stay focused. I guess it's possible that waking up earlier should produce similar effects. Maybe I should also consider drinking a cup of coffee every morning.

[edited by - hello2k1 on June 26, 2002 1:05:21 AM]

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I''m in one of those ''out-of-zone'' periods right now. I have what I need to do all worked out in design and all I need to do is to impliment it... but I haven''t yet. I''ve just lost a whole lot of interest in the project and want to code something different.

But! I refuse to code anything else until this project is done. Hopefully after I add a few more things and the project becomes more functional I''ll gain some more motivation but I have a feeling it''ll be a little uphill until then.

I just have to stay focused...



I will not make a list of links... I will not make a list of links... I will not make a list of links...
Invader''s Realm

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I usually slow down after i have managed to plan out a component, make a partial implementation that solves all the programming/design problems/issues, and all i have to do is finish it off, ie implement a few very easy methods etc.
The thing is, its kind of boring after you solved all the problems inherited in task.
I usually have a huge todo-list of these boring things i have to do, and when i work on them, things are REALLY slow.

What i do when i hit something like this, is usually to switch between different tasks in my program, for example, i almost finished all my event handling/input stuff, but was too bored to finalize the code that distributes the events(but i have already decided the how of it), so i started making a storage module for to help serializing classes to files or chunks(my silly name for a file containing multiple "files" so i can keep the number of open files to a low level), now thats almost done, and now im considering going back to finishing my input code, or perhaps start programming a particle system on the side for use in special effects.
I know it seems dangerous, but it seems that ever so slowly my program comes together, its currently over 3000 lines of code, buts its probably gonna end up with 15-20000 lines not counting script code.

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That''s another thing that I do that I forgot to mention: excerise. It makes a huge difference. I run about 3+ miles almost everyday and i lift weights. After that, I get a "high" for about 4-5 hours, where I can concentrate a lot better. Of course not everybody can start off like that, cause I sure didn''t, but I seriously suggest doing that, the hour you spend excerising, you could honestly save 3-4 of non-productive, frustrating work. (plus the ladies like it too )

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